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Black Iceby Hans Werner Kettenbach
Synopses & Reviews
“A natural storyteller who, just like Patricia Highsmith, is interested in teasing out the catastrophes that result from the banal coincidences of daily life.”—Weltwoche
When Erika, an attractive local heiress, falls to her death near her lakeside villa, the police conclude it was a tragic accident. Scholten, a longtime employee of Erika’s, isn’t so sure. He knows a thing or two about the state of her marriage and suspects an almost perfect crime. Scholten’s maverick investigation into the odd, inexplicable details of the death scene soon buys him a ticket for a most dangerous ride.
This beautifully crafted thriller, set in a European world of small-town hypocrisy, was a bestseller made into the film Glatteis.
In 2009 Hans Werner Kettenbach won the Glauser award (Germany's most prestigious crime writing prize) for lifetime literary achievement.
"Was 46-year-old Erika Wallmann's death an accident or suicide? Neither, according to Jupp Scholten, a low-level employee in the civil engineering firm run by Wallmann's richer, older husband, in Kettenbach's slow-paced and dated 1982 novel, his first to be published in English. Despite the husband's obvious motive — the firm was owned by his wife — the police conclude the death was accidental, but Scholten can't let the matter go, for two reasons. Erika once confided in Scholten, hinting that her marriage to the boss was on the ropes, but the biggest motivation for the clerk is that his life is so unrelentingly depressing. His ailing shrew of a wife makes his home life miserable; his job is deadly dull; he's filled with bitterness and anger; and he wants to take down his hated boss. The mystery of Erika's death is compelling enough, but there's barely anything else for a reader to relish, from the unlikable characters to the turgid prose (possibly a translation issue)." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
An amateur investigation into Erika's watery death buys our anti-hero a ticket for a vertiginous ride.
About the Author
Kettenbach is 75 and still writing. He published his first novel age 50 and his most recent one in May 04. In all Kettenbach has produced twelve works of fiction of which five, including Black Ice, were made into films.Previous jobs he has held include court stenographer,football journalist, foreign correspondent and newspaper editor. Translator of The Snowman.
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